...and kneeing is allowed
"Think of boxing," says John Morrison, organizer of the USA Extreme Challenge Kickboxing and Karate Fights. "And imagine fighters being allowed to kick the legs, the body, and the head." Also imagine those fighters wearing shin guards and you have his sport. Extreme Challenge fights are the latest in a long, worldwide tradition of people beating the crapola out of one another. In the same way that Asian-fusion cooking allows you to put hamburgers in the wok with chow mein noodles, Extreme Challenge sticks all kinds of fighters -- proponents of Muay Thai kickboxing, tae kwon do, kenpo, shotokan, and kung fu -- in the ring and lets them have at each other for three to five rounds, with each round lasting about two minutes. No matter which style of martial arts the fighters use, "they're all trained to punch and kick and whatnot," says Morrison, just in different ways. "As we always say, knockouts rule. So whoever knocks the other person down the most is going to win." Beyond KOs, judges look for technique and aggressiveness.
In Saturday's matchups, there are two main events. The first has Fort Lauderdale resident and two-time national kickboxing champion Jarret "Lil Fury" Perelmutter facing Phil Peterson of Alabama in a Southeastern United States title match. Perelmutter is a 28-year-old fighter who, by day, is a partner in five kung fu schools. Peterson is a computer programmer. The co-main event has Pompano Beach's own "Shotgun" Scottie Mukadam -- the 40-year-old owner of a mirror and glass business -- rematching 22-year-old Nelson Morales from Puerto Rico in an international welterweight championship title match. Other bouts have heavyweight Mike "Big Train" Baltzely of Sunrise facing Jason Warren, Paul Marfort of Sunrise and Luis Nazzario whomping on each other, Alberto Rojas of Pompano Beach fighting Boris Ibanez of Miami, and Jason Warren challenging Daniel Druker (both hail from Miami). Beyond that, there are three more heavyweight fights. The body odor starts percolating at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Hotel Marina (1881 SE 17th St. Cswy., Fort Lauderdale) starting at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $100. Call 954-974-4218, or visit www.usaextremechallenge.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Big Plans For FAU Soccer
It's going to be a good year in Boca Raton for Florida Atlantic University athletics. Along with the promising upcoming seasons for football and basketball, the men's soccer team figures to improve by leaps and bounds in 2004. The Owls are coming off an impressive '03 season. They won 11 games for the first time in seven years, including a school record six conference games, and ranked third in the nation in goals per game, netting an average of 2.62 per outing. What's more, team leader Kristoffer Aarskog won Atlantic Sun Player of the Year honors. And the prospects for this coming season look even better. Ten of 11 starters from a year ago are returning, including Aarskog, and the team's been picked to finish second in an A-Sun preseason poll. Hurricane Frances postponed the Owls' scheduled season opener against cross-county rival Florida International University, which means that today's home opener against Trevecca Nazarene is the first chance South Florida will have to see this local juggernaut. The game is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. at FAU's Boca Raton campus (777 Glades Rd.). Admission is free. Call 561-297-3000. -- Russ Evans
Blood, Sweat, and Beers
Make tracks with Club Mud
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If you can squint past the hideous neon helmets, you will find that Florida mountain bikers are indeed a cool lot. When Club Mud held its first group ride last month, it drew about 40 peeps who delighted in sweating their asses off, bleeding on pine needles, and getting grease all over their calves. For the second group ride, the Mudders head to Oleta State Park (3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami) on Saturday. "Whether you are an experienced rider with the tan lines to prove it or just entering the sport with the panty lines under your spandex to prove it, you are welcome at this ride," says a communiqué from the group's leader, Catzilla, who pedals in a classic pair of Vans with skulls on them. Eric Posner (pictured) regularly drives from Key West to ride with the group (but then again, he is regularly being evacuated for hurricanes). The event is open to riders of all skill levels, and there are plenty of beers to go around afterward. Visit www.clubmud.com, or just meet at the park at 9 a.m. -- Deirdra Funcheon
No Girly Men Here
Jacked men and women with bronzed skin and toned muscles are coming to town, and they're ready to pump you up! The Florida State Bodybuilding, Figure, and Fitness Championships are held today at the Palm Beach County Convention Center (630 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach). Beefcakes from Panama City to Pompano Beach will compete in divisions like open men's and women's bodybuilding, teen boy's bodybuilding, teen girl's figure and fitness, and open women's figure and fitness. The morning prejudging session begins at 10 a.m., and admission costs $10 per person. The evening finals get started at 6:30 p.m., with tickets ranging from $25 to $40. Plus, a special treat is in store for evening patrons, as Austrian muscle man and comedian Roland Kickinger, of Howard Stern's Son of the Beach fame, will serve as a slapstick master of ceremonies. Call 561-582-4111. -- Russ Evans